Roughly a year after the enactment of AMLD4, the European Union released its successor, the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.  Published on 19 June 2018, AMLD5 mostly added to and expanded the scope of the earlier iteration of the directive, instead of overhauling it.

Under AMLD5, member states had until 10th January 2020 to transpose the directive into national legislation. Although the deadline has now come and passed, a number of EU countries still have legislative work to do to implement the new anti-money laundering measures locally.

As reported by Alexander Weber on Bloomberg, on January 21st Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU commissioner in charge of financial-services policy, told finance ministers at a meeting in Brussels that  “the European Commission is preparing to launch so-called infringement procedures next month to get all countries to implement the rules”.

More specifically, one of the key requirements of AMLD5 mandated that member states set up publicly accessible Registers of Beneficial Ownership for corporate entities. As highlighted by this recent PwC report, it appears that many countries of the Union are behind with their implementations of this requirement.

Dombrovskis – who didn’t specify which countries missed the deadline – added: “We encourage member states who still have to take steps in order to approve internally the new rules, and to do so urgently, also considering the collective interest of the Union”.

According to Bloomberg, the European Union is also “considering more fundamental changes in its fight against illicit financial flows, for example by setting up a common agency“. Although a lot of effort has already been put into coordinating efforts and normalising requirements across the bloc, European authorities identify the remaining fragmentation of the current framework as a risk, creating potential loopholes for criminals to exploit.

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